I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity, but I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity (Oliver Wendell Holmes Jnr)
When I lived in Nepal we used to say that after a few months in the country you felt like you wanted to write a book about all you were seeing and experiencing. There were so many fascinating sights, sounds and customs to describe.
After being there for a year or so, however, you felt like you could only write an article about the culture. Some of the things that seemed exotic were now normal, yet at the same time you were beginning to realise that the differences were more than skin deep. There were different assumptions and values operating in ways that you couldn’t fully understand. This strange combination of things becoming more familiar while at the same time realising how little you really understood meant that you could actually write less than before about the culture.
After a few more years in the country, while in many ways feeling more and more at home, you were increasingly aware of the complexities of the culture. At this stage you began to feel that you might only be able to sensibly write a few paragraphs about it.
I am finding a similar process at work in my faith journey. When faith was first kindled within me during my teenage years it seemed so fresh, exciting and hopeful. It was wonderful good news and I had great enthusiasm for sharing it with others. It was also quite simple; all clearly laid out in the Bible.
Since then I have lived and worked in Nepal, studied some theology, been minister of two congregations and had a couple of other jobs. And while I have settled more and more into the life of faith I have also found levels of complexity that I could not have imagined. Read more